Demographic and Social Statistics

Time-Use Statistics

Time-use statistics are quantitative summaries of how individuals "spend" or allocate their time over a specified period - typically over a day or week. They are used to analyze policies, particularly to measure unpaid household service work, wellbeing, and gender equality. Time-use statistics are also critical to guide policies and research related to changing work practices, commuting, and transportation as well as education, health, culture, environment, and sports. Time-use statistics provide insights related to the life conditions of certain population groups, such as older people, children and people with disabilities. Over time, time-use statistics also offer meaningful insights into the changing patterns of how people use their time and the impact that new technologies, such as the Internet, have on how people allocate their time.

The importance of time use statistics for gender equality is highlighted by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Target 5.4 "Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate" and the Indicator 5.4.1 on "Time spent on unpaid domestic and care work, by sex, age and location".

United Nations Statistics Division(UNSD)'s Methodological Work on Time-Use Statistics


  • ongoing work on measuring time-use during crises
  • 2022, The 53rd Statistical Commission (53/111b) endorsed the following
  • 2020, measuring time-use during crises.
  • 2010s

  • 2018, the Expert Group on Innovative and Effective Ways to Collect Time-Use Statistics (EG-TUS) was established to
  • 2000s

  • 2005, UNSD published The Guide to Producing Statistics on Time Use: Measuring Paid and Unpaid Work
  • Supporting countries' efforts to produce time-use statistics
  • 1995

    The adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action ccalled for the development of classification of activities for time-use statistics

    With United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) serving as the secretariat, the United Nations Expert Group on Innovative and Effective Ways to Collect Time-Use Statistics (EG-TUS) initiated its work in June 2018 with the overall three objectives:

      1. Taking stock and reviewing country practices in time-use surveys.
      2. Providing technical guidance and recommendations to improve the collection and use of time use data, in line with international standards and in support of the SDGs' implementation.
      3. Developing methodological guidelines on how to operationalize ICATUS 2016 and produce time-use statistics using the latest technologies, as requested by the United Nations Statistical Commission at its forty-eighth session in (2017) in its decision 48/109.

    The United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) is the secretariat of the Group.

    The 51st Session of the Statistical Commission in 2020 (decision 51/115) endorsed the work of UNSD and the EG-TUS, approved the terms of reference of the Expert Group, and congratulated the group on the progress made in developing a conceptual framework to modernize time-use surveys.

    The 53rd Statistical Commission in 2022(decision 53/111b) endorsed the work of UNSD and the EG-TUS. This included the minimum harmonized instrument for time-use data collection, quality considerations for time-use surveys, and options to modernize time-use data production. These three documents are the core components of the upcoming revision of the United Nations guidelines for producing time-use statistics.

    For more information and resources on the work of UNSD and the EG-TUS, please visit the"Meetings" and "Methods and Resources" tabs.

    Terms of Reference

    As presented to the United Nations Statistics Division at its 51st session as background document.



  • Australia
  • Canada (Chair)
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Finland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Mexico
  • Mongolia
  • Morocco
  • New Zealand
  • South Africa
  • Thailand
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

  • Agencies and Organizations

  • Eurostat
  • International Labour Organization (ILO)
  • United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
  • United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNECLAC)
  • United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
  • UN Women
  • International Association for Time Use Research (IATUR)

  • Experts

  • Ms. Margarita Guerrero
  • Indicator I.1 of the Minimum Set of Gender Indicators (same as SDG Indicator 5.4.1) and indicator I.2 measure time spent on unpaid domestic and care work .and total work time (both paid and unpaid), respectively:

    • I.1: Average number of hours spent on unpaid domestic and care work, by sex, age and location
    • I.2: Average number of hours spent on total work (total work burden), by sex

    To view data and more information, please visit the data portal for the Minimum Set of Gender Indicators and take a look at the availability of time-use surveys and time spent on unpaid vs. total work by country, below.

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